Local nurses and elected officials gathered online Wednesday to condemn President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Republicans’ attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act during a panel organized by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.
Cathy Chao, a Las Vegas intensive care nurse, said she still hasn’t fully recovered after contracting the coronavirus in May while caring for pandemic patients. Chao missed three months of work before returning to her unit three weeks ago.
She described the “heartbreaking” conversations she is still having with patients’ family members.
“I’m sorry that you’ll never be able to hear your father’s voice again because he’s likely not going to come off the ventilator, even though he was just fine two days ago,” she said.
“This is the new reality we are facing, and it’s because our national leaders have failed to contain the virus,” she continued. “They failed to prepare the hospitals for the virus and have failed the American people by not taking this threat seriously and by calling it a hoax.”
Chao added the country “literally cannot afford another four years of ineffective leadership when so many lives are at stake.”
Yarleny Roa-Dugan, a labor and delivery nurse who also serves on Gov. Steve Sisolak’s patient protection commission, said the Affordable Care Act led to an increase in patients receiving the necessary maternity care they need. She supports Biden’s promise to protect and improve the ACA through a public option if elected.
“What’s unacceptable right now is moving backwards, which is what Donald Trump is trying to do,” she said. “He doesn’t have a plan of what to do after he overturns the Affordable Care Act.”
Roa-Dugan said Trump would leave nearly 300,000 Nevadans without health insurance during a pandemic.
Nevada Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen agreed with Roa-Dugan, saying Republicans “have a (health care) agenda… but they don’t have any alternatives.”
Washoe County School Board Trustee Angie Taylor, who participated in a televised health care discussion during last week’s Democratic National Convention, said the Trump administration’s “lack of action has impacted just about every family in our community.”
“Kids should be safely back in school by now,” she said. “Teachers are scared to work because the virus hasn’t been contained. Parents don’t know whether to go back to work or help their children at home.”
Keith Schipper, a spokesman for Trump’s Nevada campaign, balked in response to the claims made during the Biden campaign’s panel.
“There is no question that the president took appropriate and decisive action to stem the spread of the virus in this country and in Nevada,” he said.
Schipper said Trump was criticized by Biden and others for limiting travel to China in the winter, which he said “saved countless lives.”
Trump has secured $1.25 billion for Nevada in CARES Act funding, as well as some 42,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans that have saved 500,000 jobs statewide, Schipper said.